green screen help Posted by jovack on Oct 23, 2008
hello all

i am trying to shot on a green screen but am having trouble lighting it any suggestions??? i went out today and got 2 halogen lamps the type painters use.

Re: green screen help Posted by jomama on Oct 23, 2008
Posted by: jovack on Oct 23, 2008
hello all

i am trying to shot on a green screen but am having trouble lighting it any suggestions??? i went out today and got 2 halogen lamps the type painters use.


You should set your lights up at about 45 degree angle from each side of your greenscreen. Also have your puppet 3 to 5 feet away from the greenscreen and well lit. Your goal is to eliminate as many shadows as possible from your setup. Both on the greenscreen and on the puppet. You may have to experiment with the distance you place the lights from the screen. I found that I also needed to add a light behind and below the puppet shooting up at the screen to further eliminate shadows. If you can have the light that is on your puppet higher to eliminate any shadow that will be cast on the puppet from your stage if you are using a stage. I find that the painting lights are too bright for the puppeteer to not have a curtain to block them. The stage also helps with maintaining correct height for the video.

I frame the shot with the stage just out of the viewfinder and this works well. If you haven't checked out the videos I posted recently, go to the following topic and check out the videos I did. These are the first ones I have done, but I thought they turned out pretty well. Once I burned them to DVD the quality was very good. Hope this helps.,3736.0.html

Re: green screen help Posted by BoozeBandPuppets on Dec 02, 2012
I lost several hours of my life today trying to get a good green screen result. It's didn't go well! Am I to understand that the green screen needs to be lit very brightly to kill all shadows, and then the puppets need to be lit brighter than the background? My electric bill this month is gonna be a doozie if thats the case!! 
Re: green screen help Posted by pagestep007 on Dec 02, 2012
Don't fret too much. It takes a bit of experimenting(my first tries were dismal). The better your program for doing the editing, the easier it will be(the best I use is After Effects, keylight) but in general, light the backdrop as EVENLY as possible, and separate the puppets from the backdrop. In other words get as much distance as you can away from whatever you are using as your key background. That means have as BIG a backdrop as you can manage...a cloth, a wall, a board, a stadium sized warehouse wall(he he) . Getting some distance away from your colored backdrop helps reduce light reflecting off the Background onto the puppets (and that reflected light is hard to key out cleanly )so you can get a cleaner key around the edges, and it also helps even out the lighting and reduces detail like spots and small shadows by the time it gets to the lens.
   If possible, light the puppets separately, and similarly to how they are supposed to be lit in the final composite. If it is an exterior final composite, recording outside is a cheap way of getting the lighting the right color, but watch shadows and which way the light is coming from. A cloudy but not dark day, is good, it's even but not shadowy light(and free). Experiment lots. 
    Extra tips...fill the screen with your puppet, so that you maximise detail, but don't let it go out of frame, like a hand or body part or they will disappear in your final composite. Try turning your camera sideways  for tall puppets. And opposite to usual practice, actually lift your puppet to film some of the puppeteer's arm as you can get the whole puppet which you can then lower to the right hight in post. Nothing as annoying as having half the body absent in your raw footage when you need the whole body in your composite.. record the arm and all of the puppet, and later get rid of the puppeteer .
   If a group shot is difficult to do in one sitting, like you might not have enough puppeteers for a crowd shot,consider filming in small groups or even individually , and composite them together in post.

   and in your composites pay attention to: 
 1. perspective.
 2. size or scale,
 3. lighting 
 4. color balancing and
 5.depth of field (intentional blurriness) 

 These all need to synchronize to make it  convincing.

 happy compositing
Re: green screen help Posted by BoozeBandPuppets on Dec 03, 2012
Excellent, many thanks pagestep007. Lots of easy to follow instructions: This is not so much a tips sheet, more a full blown tutorial! I'm going to print out and laminate this!! Many thanks indeed, I'm going to get my Green Screen on this weekend then.. ) Fingers crossed it ain't snowing again, so I can get outside!!!
Re: green screen help Posted by Andrew on Dec 05, 2012
This is a really good tutorial for green/blue screen lighting from Tom Antos, a cinematographer and filmmaker here in Canada. Tom is using slightly more advanced (expensive) lights that what you mentioned, but the basic principles are the same no matter what equipment you use:

Tom is an amazingly talented guy I worked with on a project a couple years ago (the puppets in the intro to the video were built by Unraku for it). Anyone interested in learning how to be a better filmmaker should subscribe to his channel and watch his tutorials. You'll learn a lot!
Re: green screen help Posted by The Director on Dec 05, 2012
I will have to check this out.  I attempted a blue screen on my holiday video using a blue tarp.  Obviously too many wrinkles to make shadows.  If you saw the video the last shot of Patsy saying have a safe and happy holiday season.  the blue tarp is behind her with very bright lighting.  Not at all what I intended.
Re: green screen help Posted by pagestep007 on Dec 05, 2012
Yes The Director, I did see the tarp. I did wonder for a moment what the story was there.It was an interesting effect anyhow.
Re: green screen help Posted by Mr.B on Feb 19, 2013
Lighting is key for green screen to work.  I've worked with both blue and green screen (not with puppets, but with real people) and the more light you can get, the better off you are.  Two of my walls are plywood that are painted green.  This is great because it completely eliminates the possibility of wrinkles, and half a can covered two large walls very well.
Re: green screen help Posted by BoozeBandPuppets on Feb 19, 2013
I can't recommend this thread highly enough, pagestep007 and Andrews contributions here have been Bible-tastic as reference. :D 

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